The PharmaVOICE 100, Al Topin
Al Topin, President, Topin & Associates
PharmaVOICE Staff Writer
Developing personal relationships – be it with employees, vendors, or clients – is key to how Mr. Topin operates. He is interested in his employees as people, wanting to know about their lives and their families. He walks through the office daily and stops at each employee’s office to check in with them. He treats clients and vendor partners the same way; they become part of the Topin family.
Mr. Topin knows how to have fun. He recounts a road trip in a 420-foot RV for an out-of-state road trip to visit two clients. The decision to drive was made because a staff member was pregnant, couldn’t fly, and the RV was needed to provide enough space for everyone to be comfortable.
At the first tollbooth, they lost the retractable stairs; he quips that in retrospect it might have been a good idea to bring those in before taking off.
On the second day, as they pulled into the client’s parking lot, the RV started to make loud banging noises, which brought everyone from the client outside to see what was going on. Mr. Topin missed that meeting because he had to get the RV fixed to drive home that night in a snowstorm. Needless to say, they haven’t attempted a trip like that since.
Mr. Topin’s humor is legendary, noting that the most important “app” on his iPhone is one that warns when a full moon is due each month because that’s when clients tend to get restless. He also says he would like to someday be an art dealer/gallery owner, because he is intrigued by the “creation of value” starting from scratch.
In terms of other life pursuits, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, Mr. Topin says he wants to do a cheeseburger crawl across the United States with a good friend, ending at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles.
The personal touch extends to the many contributions he makes to those less fortunate, including Katie’s Fund, which was established for the daughter of a colleague who was killed in an accident. Katie’s Fund, which has a particular place in Mr. Topin’s heart, provides social and recreational opportunities for teens and young adults who have developmental disabilities.
This past Christmas, in lieu of gifts to the clients, he made donations to three nonprofit organizations.
Agency team members also take inner-city kids to the Lincoln Park Zoo for an afternoon, as well as donate their time to develop promotional materials in support of the For Julie Foundation, which was set up after a young girl passed away at 13 from leukemia.